Eliminating Bad Leaders: How Should We Do It and Should We Do It Now?

Eliminating Bad Leaders: How Should We Do It and Should We Do It Now?

Alisha Francis reviewed Dennis Tourish’s The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership:  A Critical Perspective. Francis states,

Dennis Tourish notes that many scholars seem to suggest no alternative to the idea that “oppressive power relations are inscribed on all human interaction, meaning that leader-follower relations remain inescapably tortured, conflicted, alienated, and incapable of resolution” (p. 14). Tourish goes on to indicate that the objective of the present work is to present a more constructive response by not only asking critical questions, but also attempting to offer alternatives (para. 1).

How can we quickly identify bad leaders before they do irreparable damage?   A friend of mine was recently denied tenure despite having the best publication record in her department, very high teaching evaluations, and three teaching awards, and she served on several university committees.  Every year her department chair gave her glowing evaluations and assured her that she would easily earn tenure.  She was denied tenure, partly as a result of the negative recommendation of this same chair.  The school’s administration seemed to realize, too late, that the chair had shown poor leadership, but my friend’s tenure decision was not reversed.  So, there was also failure of the upper leadership. The damage was done.

Does transformational leadership theory (or any other approach) speak to the quick identification of poor leaders?  And then what? Do these theories speak to improving such leaders through further training,  or to their termination?


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